So, How DO You Promote a Blog Post, Anyway?

Young blogger trying to promote his blog postIn the beginning, you set up a blog. Then, you write a blog post.

After that, often, nothing happens. No comments. No readers. No subscribers.

Why?

It’s because many new bloggers don’t understand what it is they’ve created when they write a blog post.

Writing a blog post is like crafting a hammer. You’ve created a marketing tool that can be used to raise awareness about your writing or other products or services you (or your freelance clients) might sell.

You wouldn’t expect that hammer to jump up and start hammering nails by itself, would you? Someone must pick up the hammer and start using it for the house to get built. And you’ll also need some nails, right?

Yet, many bloggers are baffled when they do nothing to promote their blog posts, and get no result.

The art of socializing

Recently, in a training, I was describing how I like to tack a monthly, $100 consulting hour onto my regular business blogging contracts.

I don’t enjoy writing 12-word Facebook posts. Instead of getting involved in the front lines of social-media marketing, I would offer to train someone on my client’s team — their teen, their secretary, a junior marketing staffer — on how to promote the posts I was writing in social media. That’s a process known as “socializing” a post.

This writer asked me:

“So, what did you teach them? How DO you socialize a blog post, anyway?”

Good question! Here’s what I taught those clients to do to grab attention for their blog posts — I’ll use one particular small-business client as an example, who has a business-loan blog.

Don’t worry if your topic is different from that — all the same stuff will work for promoting your personal blog, too.

1) Build relationships

As my guest poster Daryl Rothman noted last week, you really get traction in blogging when you build personal relationships. Start by reaching out to other bloggers in your niche.

Comment on their posts. Share their posts in social media. Try to have a Skype chat. Offer to guest post for them.

In sum, be a known name to some thought leaders in your corner of the blogosphere, so that when you have a post you want to promote, there are people who might help you. These other bloggers are going to be the nails you need to hammer home your idea by spreading it around to more readers.

In the case of one of my small-business blogging clients, he’d been doing a great job of this, sharing and commenting on other entrepreneurship blogs. So he was perfectly primed to succeed in promoting his own blog.

2) Get active in social media

Yes, you really need to. No, it’s not too late to start.

If you want to build a blog, the reality is that Twitter is one of the most important platforms for sharing, probably followed by Google+, at this point. If you’re in a home/food/how-to niche, Pinterest may be important to you as well. If Facebook seems like a place people talk about your topic a lot, it might be useful, too.

You may hear stuff about how to get more shares from bookmarking sites and retweet farms and lots of other things, but you don’t really need to get into using them.

You do need to build a presence, though, so that there are people who see and share your post when you retweet or otherwise share it around. Otherwise, you are tweeting to no one.

My client was good on this, too — he’d been building his Twitter following and chatting with people on there about small-business topics.

3) Have a social-sharing tool

I continue to be amazed at how many blogs I find that have no set of social sharing buttons. At this point, only your most rabid fans are going to take the trouble to mosey over to Twitter, hand-write a tweet with the post headline in it, and hand-paste your link into it.

There are plenty of tools out there — among the most popular are AddtoAny, ShareThis, and Sharebar (which is what I’m currently using). Pick one and get it installed. It will immediately signal to readers that you’d like them to share your posts.

4) Design your post for shareability

Instead of writing whatever you feel like and then desperately trying to get people to share it, take the opposite approach: Reverse-engineer your social-media success by noticing what sorts of posts get shared a lot in your niche, and writing something along those lines.

What are the hot topics? The buzzwords? The personalities whose mention inspires conversation? Riff on one of these in your post.

Begin with the key ingredient: Write a strong headline with key words that will help readers interested in your topic to find you.

From there, flesh out a whole post that thought leaders with huge social-media followings might take an interest in.

One no-fail approach I used repeatedly with my clients was to ask them to name their personal top gurus for information in their sector. Doing a post like this gives you a great opportunity to share that post with all the gurus mentioned.

Which brings us to…

5) Target your tweets and shares

The day your post goes up, you need to take action. Don’t just sit and wait for people to come and retweet your post. Be proactive in bringing your post to the attention of big names who might give your post wider exposure.

How do you do this? For starters, don’t beg. And don’t email people to ask them to retweet something. That’s just silly. Target them on that platform, for instance on Twitter with:

“@guru : Your readers might enjoy this post: [HEADLINE/LINK]”

or

“@guru : You’re mentioned in: [HEADLINE/LINK]”

No, not every busy blogger will take the bait, but some will. Remember, if you’ve done a list of 10-12 top gurus you admire, that’s a lot of different big bloggers you can try.

In the case of one top 20 gurus post I ghostwrote for my client, one of the gurus he dinged about it liked it so much, she ended up asking him to write a regular column for her much-larger blog! It was a huge win that brought him a ton more exposure.

Mentioning a blogger on your post can be a way to connect and lead to more opportunities for you to guest post and grow your blog.

6) Use hashtags

One of the things to do while you’re getting acquainted with Twitter is to learn about hashtags that relate to your niche. For instance, #WW or writer Wednesday, is a popular one for writers. When I have posts come out on Wednesdays, I always make a point to use it when I share my post. Small businesses might be checking out #startup, #smb, or #smallbizchat, to name a few.

Hashtags are great because people who aren’t following you can then discover your posts as well, because they’re scanning Twitter for that hashtag topic.

7) Use a scheduler

I’ll be honest and say I could get better at this, but it’s something you especially want to be using if you’re doing social-media marketing for clients. Because you’re going to want to keep sharing about that post for days or even weeks to come — and the easy way to do that is to write and schedule those all to drip out later, rather than having to sit on Twitter at all hours.

Most of us tend to share our post the day it comes out, and then move on. But marketing pros keep recycling that post.

If you use a scheduler such as HootSuite, it makes it easy. You can keep replicating your link, rewriting your tweets or Facebook shares, and assigning them new dates and times to be posted.

Big tip: Don’t just keep retweeting your headline and link. Instead, vary what you say. Mention that there’s a hot conversation going on in the comments. Ask a question that invites readers to come back and comment. Quote a snappy line from the post. Rewrite the headline. Post it on Facebook with a different graphic on the next day, so it looks fresh.

Other big tip: Be sure you share other things inbetween the repetitions of your new post. Do some scanning, find some interesting stuff, and lace it into your schedule as well, so you don’t start looking like an obnoxious salesman and continue to appear to be putting out useful, varied info.

Of course, there are many other ways to promote blog posts. Give talks and mention your blog, for instance.

But for those who need to do it quick and without leaving home, this gives you a simple, proven approach that puts the hammer and nails together with actions that should help you build your blog audience.

How do you promote your blog posts? Leave a comment and let me know.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

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45 comments on “So, How DO You Promote a Blog Post, Anyway?
  1. Lauren says:

    Thanks for these tips, Carol. I struggle with this quite a bit, especially since the world of book arts is so tiny! But now I have some new strategies to try–always good to hear ideas from you. 🙂

  2. Nice article carol…I have used Hootsuit social media tool for my blog, it is very nice tool…thanks for sharing
    shailesh puri recently posted…How To Recover Deleted Whatsapp Messages/Chat HistoryMy Profile

  3. Kostas says:

    hi Carol. Great information as always. Building relationships is such an important part of blogging and it is something that is often neglected. In the old days a business would thrive on word of mouth and that is kinda what building relationships within your niche is all about – its the modern equivalent.
    Kostas recently posted…Promoting Your Guest Posts for Maximum SuccessMy Profile

  4. David Ward says:

    Hi Carol, I blog on communications issues. A lot of my traffic and comments come from LinkedIn which is a good thing. But do you have any tips on how to encourage people (who have arrived via LinkedIn) to leave comments on the blog itself rather than LinkedIn? This would help my readers talk to each other rather than have five separate and different conversations (on LinkedIn). Thanks in advance.
    David Ward recently posted…Beware of ‘borrowing’ storiesMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, when you post a link on LinkedIn, the assumption is that you are doing it in part to start a conversation on LinkedIn about it. It’s tough to channel those people over to comment on the blog post.

      The people who comment on your blog are your blog subscribers, in my experience. Try to promote whatever your free giveaway is for signing up and get more people on your list, to get more comments. You can also ask questions in social media, rather than just sticking in a headline. I do that a lot on my Facebook page — “Am I a charlatan? Some commenters on this post think so! Come share your take on it (LINK).” Then they have to click to read the comments and are on the post to comment. 😉

  5. Anita Diggs says:

    Excellent tips, Carol! Social media is becoming one of the best ways to promote, even for books! You can send notices to your Facebook and Twitter friends, and have a way that they can either win the novel in a contest, you’re going to do a 20 novel giveaway and announce that on Facebook and Twitter. Also, tie it in to what’s going on in the news. If there is something going on in the news that is relevant to what you’ve written, send that person who’s talking about or who’s on a panel that you saw on TV, send that person a copy of it.

  6. Alexa says:

    I rewrite my headline for the majority of the tweets that I schedule. And another thing is that when I ask people if they’ll share my post at the end of the article a lot of people actually do. I try to use this very sparingly though.

    I just took your advice and tweeted to a guru about one of my posts. I felt so nervous doing it. Definitely a push outside of my comfort zone!
    Alexa recently posted…50+ Legitimate Work From Home Job OpportunitiesMy Profile

    • Alexa says:

      I had to come back and thank you Carol. It worked. My post just got retweeted from the “Guru”. Goes to show pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone every now and then is definitely worth it!!
      Alexa recently posted…4 Things I’m Doing to Save Money Right NowMy Profile

      • Carol Tice says:

        That’s awesome Alexa!

        Mentioning gurus is a time-honored way to make connections and find new readers. Can be done to death, can be done in a way that the guru doesn’t like (ask me how I know), the guru may be busy, 10 things may go wrong…but when it works it can open some doors.

  7. Hi Carol,
    You wrote this post for me. 🙂
    I do all this for myself and my own blog posts, but when I asked you the question it never occurred to me that a client wouldn’t know how to do it for themselves. Amazing how we never think to offer what is obvious to us as a service to others. Thanks for the idea.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Carol! Take it from me, the majority of small business owners have no idea how blogs get them traffic…they’ve just heard that they could.

      Clients I’ve had were thrilled to learn about how to do it themselves. Often, after I’ve moved on from working with them, I can see them using the strategies on Twitter. I love teaching clients to fish on social media, because getting paid per Tweet is never a big money-maker, and they think you’re so awesome for sharing your social strategy ideas with them. 😉

      Also, getting them to do social-media marketing means it’s more likely the project will be successful, and they *will* get more traffic, subscribers, comments…and hopefully, leads and sales. So they’re more likely to continue paying you to write blog posts. So there’s a self-interest angle there, too.

  8. Maketta says:

    Hello Carol,

    This was an excellent and informative blog post! I am still learning how to utilize Twitter properly. I do share my blog posts as well as other blogger’s blog posts. However, I do find it hard to get people talking on Twitter sometimes. I guess I will just to keep trying. Thanks for sharing this with us! I will definitely use some of these techniques.
    Maketta recently posted…I Don’t Have Everything I Need To Get StartedMy Profile

  9. Fadja says:

    Thanks Carol for the great post. My own blog is still in process, so with your tips it’ll have a good start.

  10. Kat says:

    I’m glad to have found your very informative website! I’ve still got a lot to learn about using Twitter to promote my writing blog.
    Kat recently posted…7 Reasons Not to PlagiarizeMy Profile

  11. Great post! Thanks for the tips. I use buffer to schedule my posts, and so far it’s been great.
    Dr Rie Natalenko recently posted…FREE WEBINAR: Write Your Own Best SellerMy Profile

  12. Naomi says:

    This article is a great resource. So much to learn, so much to do! When I started blogging I lost focus and now I understand the need for a strategy, well put.

  13. Excellent article, Carol. Actually, this is really powerful.

    I implemented # 3, but with a variation. I installed “Snap Skout Sharebar” rather than “Sharebar” . This gives me 5 social media across the top of the page.

    I am trying Google Plus for the second time. My problem is, when I follow top bloggers and freelance writers, I get posts that goes back years. So following several top “thinkers” leads to a lot of stuff on each page. I think this is overdoing it. Is there a way to adjust the settings?

    I think #5 is an excellent idea – but it is a little scary. However, I think I am willing to give it a try.

    I am going to go over this page again and see what else I can implement – later on.
    Stephen Quinn recently posted…“All In”My Profile

  14. Hi Carol,

    Great article! It helps to see someone else’s system for posting. This was especially helpful in seeing how I can make Twitter more productive.
    Thanks!

    Lois

  15. Craig says:

    Great article. I really need to be a bit more social with other health blogs, the only problem is the ones I follow closely are based in the USA, and am struggling to find any other UK ones…

    Anyone know any good ones?

  16. Nadia McDonald says:

    This article speaks volumes! I had no idea there were techniques to reach twitter followers on the niche. I read lots of blogs and simply tweeted their postings into twitter. Twitter’s presence was strongly felt as it attracted the most successful and brightest in the field. On a daily basis, I would get tweets from experts and consultants requesting that I follow them and subsequently I would get favourited.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, we all get those requests to follow people, Nadia, because people are always looking to boost their follower numbers. Unfortunately, most of those requests aren’t a sign of anything else. My usual response to those, where the first reach-out is a request that I follow them, is to block them so I never have to see them again.

  17. I have a free book promotion this week so I did exactly what you said in Point No.7 I have used Hootsuite to schedule tweets.

    I also made sure to include links to interesting blog posts in between my own product promotions so that my own feed doesn’t look so self serving. I hadn’t thought of that in the past but am glad that I have done that now.

    It is nice to have it all scheduled so that I do not have to think about it.

    I like your idea of sending a link to a person if you have mentioned them in a post. I hadn’t thought of that because I didn’t want to seem like I was badgering someone that I didn’t know.

    Thanks for providing that tip – will certainly use it in the future 🙂
    Victoria Virgo recently posted…I Met Chris Ducker – Virtual CEO – in London TownMy Profile

  18. Joe Putnam says:

    Hi Carol,

    In my experience, the number one mistake most people make is not promoting posts. They write, publish, and sit back expecting to generate traffic. Sure, they’ll get some action that way, but most people would be surprised how much more attention they can get with a little outreach. I wrote a post on Medium (this one: https://medium.com/philosophy-logic/7d8c24f672b1), and received about 25 views in the first three days. Then, after sharing it on Reddit, I received 1000+ views in a single day. To date it’s been read 1200+ times and I’ve picked up 138 followers, something that wouldn’t have happened without doing a tiny little bit of promoting. So as you can see (and as you’ve already written about) sharing and promoting a post can be the difference between 100 or 1200 views.

  19. Katharine says:

    I am so guilty of not following these rules!

    And the thing is, when I do take time to promote things, especially on Twitter, I find that I get a good amount of traction and traffic. I’m just so much better at doing the work for clients than for myself!
    Katharine recently posted…The Pros & Cons of a Creative LifestyleMy Profile

  20. Kelly Marino says:

    I’m just getting started (not in freelancing, but writing and on-line marketing), but I can’t think of a better training ground for a newbie than this website and your incredibly helpful posts. They cover the entire spectrum for anyone trying to establish a beachhead on the internet. BRAVO to you, Carol. And thank-you!

  21. Jane says:

    It is quite important that we vary our tweets. Tweeting the same headline over and over will not make the tweet interesting. In fact, it will make the tweet annoying!

    I include “Click to tweet” tweetables within the post for this purpose and it works really well.

    Thanks for the wonderful tips!
    Jane recently posted…Why Information Overload Is A Big Hurdle To Your Blogging Success (and how to avoid it?)My Profile

  22. Hi Carol, I’ve been using most of these techniques. For scheduling I like Bufferapp.com along with their browser extension. I always tweet my posts, but I never thought of actually directing a tweet to a “guru.” I mention gurus quite often (usually to recommend their books or their website), so I am definitely going to try this soon.

    I’m still trying to get my head around hashtags, how to discover what tags are used for what topics, etc.

    Thanks for this terrific info.
    Debra L. Butterfield recently posted…5 Christian Devotional Markets Accepting SubmissionsMy Profile

  23. Spot on Carol

    There is one thing I’d like to add. If you’re building relationships by tweeting other people’s stuff then don’t forget to include their Twitter handle.

    The person whose post you’re sharing wants to know who’s sharing their content. And you want them to know you’re doing it.

    And make sure the Tweet button on your own website automatically appends your Twitter handle. I’m pretty sure most share plugins allow you to do this.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted…Help! No-one ever comments on my blog. What should I do?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Right on, Kevin — I think a lot of people make that mistake, and then the thought leader never sees their RT. It’s great to add some comments or reactions as well, rather than just retweeting their link. Makes your RT stand out.

      • I think you know my favourite RT trick already Carol
        Kevin Carlton recently posted…Trade secrets: How to craft bullet points like a superstar copywriterMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          😉

          For those who don’t know, Kevin’s point of difference is that he rewrites the headline of the post he’s sharing to make it a bit different. Have to say, I think it’s kind of cool! You can check it out on @TiceWrites on Twitter if you’re interested.

          Not that I want everyone to copy that…but think about something unique you can do when you share tweets. It definitely does get bloggers’ attention when it’s not just yet another retweet of the identical headline.

  24. Daryl says:

    Hey Carol,

    I suppose one of the things that I occasionally do (and should definitely be doing more of) is using social media.

    In addition, something simple like making a comments on blogs which show my most recent posts, or changing my signature link on forums that I regularly use also helps to promote my recent posts.
    Daryl recently posted…February and March Freelance Writing Income ReportsMy Profile

  25. I love the idea of training someone on the client’s team to write the social media part. One of my clients has me write social media prompts for her blog posts. But she barely uses social media. It feels like a waste. I know she doesn’t want to hire a social media manager–I’ve pitched that. So, I’m going pitch consulting to her. Thanks!

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